Travel and tourism organisations are calling for caution in response to the European Commission’s recent recommendation that the EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) should only remain valid for up to nine months after the second Covid-19 vaccination dose, unless a booster jab is administered.
The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, a group of 70 public and private travel and tourism organisations, in an announcement underlined the importance that all EU Member States agree on a standard duration of the vaccination certificate, to avoid fragmentation of national legislation and discrepancies between Member States.
“However, the recommendation to shorten vaccine certificate validity to nine months and require an additional (booster) dose to maintain this status will create asymmetry between EU countries with different national vaccination levels as well as booster availability,” the alliance said.
A further element of concern for the travel industry is the Commission’s recommendation that travelers vaccinated with a non-EU approved vaccine should present a negative pre-departure PCR test.
“The additional requirement of providing a negative PCR test for travellers vaccinated with a WHO-approved, but not EMA-approved vaccine, could create a two-tier system that would become very cumbersome to put in place,” the European Tourism Manifesto alliance said, calling on Member States to recognise the whole list of WHO-approved vaccines without additional requirements for travellers.
“This point equally goes for recovered travellers; there is no justifiable reason why an additional PCR test is required from recovered non-EU travellers while this is not required from EU travellers,” the alliance added.
Harmonisation of travel measures
The European Tourism Manifesto also called on Member States to swiftly adopt the existing EU Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF) to achieve further harmonisation of travel measures and facilitate contact tracing across EU borders.
The European Tourism Manifesto is the voice of the European travel and tourism sector and gathers more than 50 European public and private organisations, covering the whole tourism value chain and beyond. Its members include ACI EUROPE (Airports Council International), CLIA EUROPE (Cruise Lines International Association), ECTAA (The European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association), ETC (European Travel Commission), Europa Nostra (The Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe), HOTREC (Hotels, Restaurants and Cafés in Europe), FEG (European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations) and the WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council).
The aim of the alliance is to request action from the European Union on key policy priorities for the tourism sector.